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Private tutoring at transition points in the English education system: its nature, extent and purpose

Ireson, Judith and Rushforth, Katie (2009) Private tutoring at transition points in the English education system: its nature, extent and purpose. Research Papers in Education, iFirst. 1 iFirst-19 iFirst. ISSN 0267-1522

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Abstract

International surveys indicate that the prevalence of private tutoring in England is relatively low but as few national surveys have been undertaken, there is little detailed evidence available. The aim of this research is to provide a systematic description of the nature and extent of private tutoring at three points of transition in the English education system and to explore students’ views of the reasons for its use. Over 3000 students completed a questionnaire survey providing information on the extent of private tutoring in school curriculum subjects,reasons for the employment of tutors and demographic information. Over 1100 parents supplied information on their motivation for employing tutors. At the time of the survey, 7.6% of year 6 pupils were in receipt of tutoring in mathematics, 8.1% English and 3.2% science. Comparable figures for year 11 pupils were 7.9% mathematics, 2.6% English and 2.8% science. Overall, 27% of students reported that they had received tutoring at some stage during their school career and there were clear associations with family socio-economic status and cultural background. Parents employed tutors to increase their child’s confidence, improve their understanding of the subject and to help them do well in tests and examinations. Most primary age children indicated that tutors were not needed as their teachers and families provided sufficient educational support. Some families appear to be making strategic use of tutors to help their children make successful transitions in the education system.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Presents findings from the first systematic, detailed survey of private tutoring in the UK, throwing light on a hitherto hidden aspect of the education market. Sucessfully employs an innovative methodology to obtain information from pupils and their parents. Compares the extent of private tutoring in popular subjects at three transition points in the education system, provides insight into students’ views and parental motivation for its use. Emanates from an ESRC-funded research project. Findings have received extensive coverage in the press and broadcast media. Invited contributor to an AERA symposium, 2009, and to EARLI 2009; papers based on the journal article. Based on data from over 3000 pupils and 1100 parents, stratified to provide a variety of demographic areas. Contribution from author: lead author; director of funded research project, responsible for conceptualizing and designing the research and overseeing data analysis; Refereeing process: article refereed
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Psychology and Human Development
Depositing User: IOE Repository Editor (2)
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2009 09:56
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2013 12:06
URI: http://eprints.ioe.ac.uk/id/eprint/734
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